February 21, 2017
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We have some nice big bucks hanging from the cabin decks, so the hunters are having good luck early in the season. Our electricity was out for 12 hours during this last weekend. I hate it when that happens; telephones out, too!
There’s a nip in the air and the leaves are changing. The children in Lowell are picking out their Halloween costumes to be ready for the big day. KREM 2 and Tom’s Tailgate came to Clearwater Valley High School football game in Kooskia. Tom’s such a nice guy and it was a great experience for all the students and players. Speaking of football, Mike Smith Sr., Marty, Dani, and Max Smith all attended a Vandal game last week in Moscow. They had great seats and a great time, too!
Fishermen are reporting good luck even with all the rain, they are pretty closed mouthed about where they went or what fly the big ones were striking.
Fenn Ranger Station is getting a new roof, the IDF&G is putting a fish trap in at Pete King Creek, the USFS finishing up Lowell protection cut, and Terry Jackson has an REO Speed Wagon to add to his collection of trucks at Syringa. There’s no moss growing under our feet upriver! Pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, scarecrows, yellow leaves, massive amounts of overgrown zucchini, and apples ready to pick. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
The threat of fire is over for hopefully this year for Lowell; it’s three miles out and burning very slowly. News from the Coolwater Complex about the Andy’s Hump fire is that cooler weather has stopped that burn from causing concern for structures here at the confluence. They continue to watch and finish the planned protection. Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert has approved a plan designed to improve forest health and reduce fuels. The Lowell WUI project (we pronounce woo-ee) will treat 166 acres on the district.
Helicopters are hovering overhead helping to control the Andy’s Hump Fire about three-one-half miles from the community of Lowell. Fire are crews everywhere and even an Idaho Sheriff Deputy on guard at the base of Coolwater Road to be sure only authorized vehicles admitted. At this time, the crews are clearing fire lines, cutting firebreaks and setting up sprinkler systems around structures, it is a major job without local areas so densely forested.
Lots of nice folks came into town to make for a busy week. There’s a fire up Coolwater Road at the lookout, caused by lightning last Tuesday, not too big, they are letting it burn, but very hot! Is there any other kind? Smoke was very thick for the Labor Day weekend and folks were feeling its effects. Can’t go East because it’s worse in Montana, can’t go north, Canada is on fire (hot kind), and can’t go West, Washington had its own problems! So, we go south?? Not sure! Big wedding at River Dance Lodge in Syringa last Saturday, Donn Gibbs and Kelly Brooks had a birthday celebration in Lowell, Marty and Dani Smith had a party for their son, Max, who turned 4, and the bikers from Montana had a hullabaloo up the Selway, add on Barbecue Days in Kamiah, and CV varsity football in the Kibbie Dome, you have yourself one busy newsworthy week.
List for town before Labor Day weekend: •Toilet Paper •Bug Spray •Coffee Packets •Laundry Soap •Windex
By the time this paper is printed the eclipse will be over, but I’ll know how to spell “eclipse” without having to use spell check! Many Lowell friends and families got together and met on top of Coolwater Mountain; Mike and Lara Smith and girls have friends visiting to be here for the eclipse. Kevin from NYC and Granger from Texas. Donn and Kelley from up on the Mountain, Richard and Sally, Frank and Faye, Becky, from Downtown Lowell. All met up on the mountain. Mike and Marie Smith watched it from the Selway Bridge! Once in a lifetime, how great is that! Ok it’s over, let’s go on with our lives!
First football practice, then basketball practice, then school starts, then the eclipse, then Labor Day weekend, then bow season, then yellow leaves, then????
Here’s the news, and it ain’t all good! Smokey, really smokey, dusty because we haven’t seen a drop of rain for two months, even the blackberries are dusty, ripe, but dusty, hot hot hot, like record breaking hot, and the green green grass of home is yellow.
Margaret Myers, Melody Dodge, and Maribeth Richardson came upriver last week to enjoy the sunshine and get out on their ATVs. They brought their husbands along and enjoyed Idaho at its best!
Three guys, sitting around the campfire, one named Cash, one named Buck, and the third named Rich, does this reek of money: Cash, Buck, and Rich! Lowell is such a great little town! We are off the Lochsa and heading for the Upper Selway — five days going through the wilderness and coming out at Selway Falls, 20 miles above Lowell.
Family reunions upriver, cousins, brothers, sisters, mom, dad, gramma, and gramps, too. They bring their dogs, they float the river, they roast marshmallows and barbecue steaks and hot dogs. They fish, they hike, they go out on their ATVs and horses; they are having a good time in Idaho.
We all felt the earthquake at 11:30 p.m., last week, July 5th. Not usually anything happening in Lowell and Syringa in the middle of the night, so when the earth shook, we all sat up in our beds and listened. Each story is different.
Hot, dusty, the rivers are starting to come down, only a few more weeks of whitewater, ATVs everywhere, motorcycles on their runs along Highway 12, campfires every evening; it’s summertime fun in Lowell!
Two black helicopters flew upriver fast and low last weekend, about 25 feet above the Middlefork of the Clearwater and kept going east up the Lochsa. Loud, fast, and very low, scared us all for a few seconds. It happened so fast the photos I took were all blurry. I read that Secretary of Interior Zinke was in Montana last week, so maybe he was checking out Idaho as well.
It’s like a circus around here, oh wait, we did have a circus around here! The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus members went rafting on the Lochsa with Marty and Dani Smith at Three Rivers Rafting. They also enjoyed the company of circus friends Mike and Lara Smith, of Lowell, and Jay and Kristin Stewart visiting the Smiths from Cape Cod.
Big wedding at Syringa last week. Lots of Kamiah Simmons and Beckmans all got together to celebrate the joining of Megan Beckman and Lucas Wooden, there at Jackson’s beautiful setting in Syringa. Becky Allen-Brotnov and Terry have worked to make it a paradise, just right for the perfect wedding. Or you can also land there during hunting season, before and after you go out and try to shoot something; either way it’s the best.
Hot, cold, rain, wind. Water goes up, then it comes down. Monarch Butterflies everywhere upriver. The Gideons delivered Bibles to every cabin, and such nice guys they are.
Regular news is a busy, sunny, perfect Memorial Day weekend. Rafters had perfect level water (5-1/2 feet) and sunshine all three days. There were campfires going on in front of every cabin in the Lochsa Riverbank, marshmallows for the kids, cold beer for the adults, and barbecues everywhere.
River Dance Lodge is open for lunch and dinner every day. Wilderness Inn is open all day, too. Good food, good friends, how lucky are we! Two choices for delicious food upriver. Eat, drink, be merry, and float down the river.
Kyle Petty had a spectacular event along Highway 12 last Sunday, Mother’s Day. It was a glorious run of motorcycles and support vehicles heading east in the sunshine! The communities of Lowell and Syringa came out along the highway to watch. Some hooting and hollering ensued!
The Mighty Lochsa is raging, right at six feet this morning and all last weekend on the gauge crossing the base of the Lochsa River at the Selway River Road. It’s perfect for whitewater boaters, very fun rapids, everyone has a good time between four and six feet. Be ready, wear the proper gear, have some partners with you, try to stay in your boat!
A tall man with a black three-piece suit, white shirt and black tie came walking down my driveway in the pouring down rain last Friday. He had a briefcase in one hand and an expensive black satchel in the other.
Alan and Mary Hamilton were up on the Lochsa last weekend with some friends from McCall, and the “Ladies on the Lochsa,” a group of kayakers from mostly Montana joined forces at Wilderness Gateway to get out on the river as well. Cloudy skies and rain all week. It’s just a way of life in Lowell! Too early to mow the lawn.
My life in the Idaho wilderness Easter Sunday: Power out 23 1/2 hours, no phone, no Internet, no electric heaters, no coffee! The guy in Cabin No. 2 said his sleep apnea machine went out; the guy in No. 3 (Alan Hamilton from AIRE Boats) said he was fine, no problem, his dogs slept next to the propane heater; the couple in No. 4 from McCall said they were used to it; the bear hunters in No. 7 didn’t even realize power was out, left early, came in late to sleep and got two bears; the turkey hunters in No. 8 got a big turkey with an 11-inch beard which they cooked outside on the fire ring and didn’t miss electricity. Two gals in motel room came in and left without a drop of power and paid cash!
Helicopters flying low overhead, white trucks carrying telephone poles, panel trucks and lift trucks, all upriver on a sunny Sunday replacing downed poles on the Selway River Road near Swiftwater Bridge. We had an “event” last week and a burst of wind took out about 50 trees. Could have been worse if closer to local homes up there, but at least it’s fixable: ICL&P to the rescue once again.
The sun came out for about 10 minutes last weekend, but it was followed by a hail storm and wind from the north! Even the horn hunters went home early.
Pheasants on highway 12. A tire blew out on a semi-truck hauling a gooseneck trailer full of beautiful pheasants. The load tipped over at mile marker 111 on Highway 12 just above Lowell which is located at mile marker 97.
Spring has sprung, the kayakers, catarafters, and rafters are all over it. They picked this last weekend to converge on the Mighty Lochsa. The level has gone up and down between seven feet at the highest so far, back down to five and one-half feet on Monday morning. With the Internet, it’s possible to get up-to-the-minute river flow at any given minute! I usually just ask Marty Smith, my go to for River info, it’s easier.
The 10 worst things about a 45-hour power outage: 1. Your freezer is thawing fast, so it’s venison and homegrown stewed tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The only live thing that came down my driveway this week besides wild turkeys was the mailman, Ralph Jackson “Junior”, and his co-pilot, Steve Pankey. They delivered this week amid snow, ice, mud, and even with fallen tree branches along the drive. Rocks in the road, small slides of mud, and even a pair of geese or two, they complete their appointed rounds right on time. With newspapers, bills, ads, personal letters, and even Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstake winners!
Not one word about weather. If you don’t hear from me next week, I’m buried in the snow under my satellite dish with a scraper in my cold frozen hands trying to get my Internet to come back on! “The Revenant” doesn’t have anything on me.
The snow is melting. This week we’ve seen blue sky, and new grass on the field, a tulip blooming here and there, and even a few discarded beer cans have been exposed, (you didn’t think I was only going to report butterflies and rainbows did you!) The change is coming, as we get out and about up here along the river a lighter weight jacket is ok, our mud boots instead of our winter pac’s, and even wear just two layers of thermal shirts instead of three.